If you thought that the search engine wars were settled, with Yahoo! laying down arms, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Rupert Murdoch reignited the battle saying that he could de-index the WSJ and other content providers from Google. Now Microsoft (MS) has gone a step ahead and offered New Corp money to provide exclusive content for Bing.
Will this lead to more such players providing exclusive content on certain search engines? Personally, I don’t think so. Google won’t take this lying down, and given that it retains a large share of web searches, more content providers would want to be listed on Google (for lower money) than Bing. Ultimately we might have two major search engines with one having more content than the other – which one would it be is anyone’s guess. MS has a lot of money to throw at the search business but Google is no slouch itself. If they end up paying a lot, they are only going to hurt themselves. Also, I am not sure if MS would fight as much for search, which is still a small part there entire biz, unlike Google.
While it is not inconceivable that the search engines might have to pay the content providers some money, I do not foresee it being a huge amount. Search still remains, along with social networking, the killer application of the internet.
Whatever may be the outcome, MS has thrown the gauntlet and I bet Google is just about to respond!!